Since 1924, the Richmond Chamber of Commerce has represented the dynamic range of our city’s business community, from sole proprietors to major corporations. Approximately 70 percent of our members are considered small businesses, with less than 10 employees, 26 percent of our members have between 10-100 employees, and only 4 percent of our members are considered large businesses, having over 100+ employees.
We are a voice for each of our members and encourage participation by all. We are an excellent resource for anyone wanting information about Richmond and its business opportunities, policies and trends.
Our Mission: The Richmond Chamber of Commerce exists to provide services, resources and advocacy to foster growth in the business community and benefit West Contra Costa County. We believe a healthy community can only be maintained by a strong local economy. The Richmond Chamber represents and works for our members, which include businesses and organizations not only located in Richmond but those located elsewhere and doing business in Richmond. We carry out our mission with a five-part approach:
- Representing Business to Government
- Promoting the Community
- Creating a Strong Local Economy
- Providing Networking Opportunities and Business Connections
- Taking Political Action
REPRESENTING BUSINESS TO GOVERNMENT
Clearly one of the most important benefits of being a member of a chamber of commerce is having an organization larger than your own single business representing you and advocating on your behalf. The services we do are designed to advocate for business interests, stimulating local business growth and prosperity. We probably don’t communicate this work enough? Much of the work we do is behind the scenes we should probably promote ourselves and our successes more.
Work completed by the Government Relations/ Economic Development Committee made possible Richmond’s first annual Economic Summit event.
List of agenda items from 2010:
- North Richmond specific plan
- HR 1806 tax incentives for Railroads
- Prop 16 Taxpayers right to vote act. (PG&E)
- Measure T Chevron/manufacturers tax
- Measure U Casino vote
- Measure M School Bond measure
- Medical MJ Ordinance
- Point Richmond Parking issue (Allied Vocational School)
- Various General Plan specific plans
- Green Building Ordinance
- Food Ware Ordinance
- Pipeline Franchise Ordinance
- Demolition Ordinance
- Governor’s Job Creation Proposal
- Hosted David Crane, the Governor’s EDC representative at Chamber Breakfast
- Kaiser Parking Lot Expansion
PROMOTING THE COMMUNITY
Quality of life is considered to be the most important element of decision making when considering where one wishes to live and do business, Chambers of Commerce have long been known as being “cheerleaders” for their towns. After all, who is the keeper of the maps directories and information about our town? The list of things this Chamber does to promote their community is extensive.
How do we promote the community?
- Home Front Festival
- Richmond Magazine
- Ribbon Cuttings
- Police/Fire Bar-B-Que
- Thanks for Giving Luncheon Recognition Awards
- KCRT programming from Economic Summit
- Articles in the E-News
- Chamber President serving on non profit boards : YMCA, Richmond Friends of Recreation, Early Childhood Mental Health, Richmond Art Center’s 75th Committee, City Commissions, Workforce Investment Board and Exec Board and Richmond Rotary
CREATING A STRONG LOCAL ECONOMY
Our Chamber is dedicated to helping local companies grow their business by taking the lead in programs and efforts that help create a strong local economy and making our community a great place to do business. We provide many educational opportunities to help business improve.
What opportunities are available for business improvement?
- Economic Summit and Business Expo
- Labor Law Breakfast Speaker
- Leadership Richmond
- Escalante Center – Small business development and training program
- Score and CCBDC – Small business counseling
- WIB Workforce Investment Board
- Think Local First Campaign – Member advertising opportunities
- Promoting Sponsorships
- Assisting many members with problems encountered in the development and permitting process – Assistance and advice with Local Government
- Advocating for local developments such as Upstream, Chevron project, Port of Richmond project
- Hold monthly meetings with members of the City Council
PROVIDING NETWORKING OPPORTUNITIES and BUSINESS CONNECTIONS
Every event the chamber facilitates can promote the community, create a strong local economy and provide networking opportunities and business connections.
This is the most popular reason given for joining the Chamber.
How do we network and connect?
- 12 Mixers per year
- 11 Breakfasts per year
- 3 Luncheons per year
- Annual Valentine’s Crab Feed
- Business Expo/Trade Shows
- Super Mixer – Working with the West County Chambers and Business Associations
- Economic Summit
- Social networking – Facebook and Twitter accounts
- Toastmasters Club
- Ambassador Team
TAKING POLITICAL ACTION
Electing Business Friendly Candidates – Perhaps the most controversial function of the Chamber, is being involved in politics.
Many businesses expect their chamber of commerce to take an active role in shaping public policy decisions and to support community leaders that have vision and a world view. What better way to exhibit the chamber’s true leadership role than to help elect the officials who make the important decisions that directly affect residents and businesses?
How do we take political action?
- Candidate Development
- Getting local business leaders on Commissions and Boards
- Political Action Committee
- Endorsing candidates (city council, school board)
- Raise money for local campaigns, school bonds or local issues
- Work with elected officials to craft legislation
We would love to take credit for the lovely weather, but we’re more concerned about the local economic climate.